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Billings Early College School

The mission of BECS is to inspire, educate and empower students from diverse backgrounds through transformative educational opportunities to earn both a high school diploma and college credits toward an Associate Degree.

Our vision For BECS is that together we will cultivate a culture of excellence every day to prepare our students for success in our evolving global community.

 

Montana State University Sign
Rocky Mountain College Sign

 

 

 

The primary principles of BECS are centered on academic, social, and emotional support as well as assistance in planning for and enrolling in college courses that align with our students’ intended career pathways.

What is Billings Early College School?

  • BECS is a Public Charter School under the leadership and governance of Billings Public Schools.

  • Students will have the opportunity to earn both their high school diploma and college credits up to an Associate Degree.

  • While there are currently over 400 Early College Schools in the U.S., we will be the first in the State of Montana!

  • Our Spring 2023 community survey emphasized a need to increase college & career opportunities for our students in Billings Public Schools.

  • While we currently have students who access our Career Center, Advanced Placement, and Dual Credit opportunities, we have many more who do not, highlighting a need to expand opportunities and career pathways for all students.

What will it look like?

  • BECS will follow a hybrid schedule where students spend half of their day at BECS, located at the Washington Innovation Center, and the other half of their day at their “home” high school in 9th and 10th grade.

  • This structure will allow students to maintain access to Music, Arts, CTE, Languages, sports, clubs and activities through their home high school.

  • Students will focus on core high school graduation requirements through 10th grade, then schedule most or all of their classes on the college campus for 11th & 12th grade.

What are the benefits of an Early College School?

  • Students and their families can save money on college by earning up to two years of college credits prior to graduating high school.

  • BECS provides a foundation for achieving an Associate Degree and continuing college toward a Bachelor’s Degree if the student chooses to do so.

  • Earning an Associate Degree can help career advancement in almost any field.

  • BPS is listening and being responsive to our stakeholders' voice to expand college and career opportunities for our students.

 

Montana State University

 

Let’s introduce you to our college partnerships…

  • Our city’s own Montana State University Billings (MSUB) has committed to partnering with BECS.

 

  • We continue to explore partnership opportunities with Rocky Mountain College (RMC) as well, understanding that those options will be more individualized to align with Rocky’s mission, opportunities and student pathways.

Rocky Mountain College logo

 

How do I know if this is right for me?

  • Any incoming 9th grader who is interested is welcome.

  • No GPA or minimum test score required.

  • First generation college students will receive the guidance and support they need for success in college courses.

  • Students who may not have considered college before may want to pursue this opportunity.

  • BECS is not intended to replace our current Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), Dual Credit, or Career Pathway opportunities in Billings Public Schools as those programs serve many of our students well. 

  • BECS will not offer honors or AP courses as the focus will be on earning college credits.  Parents and students will need to research their intended colleges specifically to determine if they have a preference in their admissions process for the acceptance of dual credit classes.

What will students need to be successful in BECS?

  • MSUB and RMC college student expectations include:

    • 2.5 GPA or higher (mostly As, Bs, some Cs)

    • Solid math, writing and reading skills which will be a focus for BECS staff and students!

    • Good attendance, consistent habit of completing work on time.

    • Time management, self-advocacy, and maturity (by 11th grade).

  • College course expectations for parents that are different than high school courses:

    • College communication is between the student and professor, not the parent.

    • College professors have Academic Freedom in college curriculum.

What do I need to do if I am interested?

  • Enroll!  We still have seats available for the fall of 2024 for incoming 9th grade students.
     
  • Be sure you are initially registered as a 9th grader at Senior, West or Skyview for 2024-2025.
     
  • Click on the arrow at the top of the page to connect directly with Dr. Jeril Hehn, Director of Advanced Academics, with any questions and to learn how to enroll in BECS.
Rocky Mountain College Picture

 

What else do I need to know?

  • All BECS students will work toward both a high school diploma (21 high school credits) and college credits up to an Associate Degree (typically 60 college credits).

  • Students will be expected to commit to regular attendance and on time homework completion.

  • BECS staff will support students in working toward the college readiness habits and expectations as described above.

  • College professors teach under the concept of Academic Freedom regarding course curriculum and do not fall under the same parental notification requirements as public high schools.  Students will not be able to opt out of college curriculum or assignments and are expected to adhere to the syllabus and course policies.

  • All college courses will appear on the high school transcript as well as start the student’s official college transcript.  All college courses will calculate in the student’s high school and college GPA and may have an impact on future college admissions and financial aid eligibility.

  • As BECS will not offer Honors or Advanced Placement classes, weighted grades will not be available for courses taken at BECS or on the college campus.

Montana State University Building